eATM Portal

ATC26 — Point Merge in complex TMA

Terminal Control (TC) Approach operations currently employ “Open-loop” techniques to sequence and space the arrival traffic. This entails the use of tactical vectors: heading, speed and vertical altitude intervention, to merge traffic onto the line of the Final Approach ILS (Instrument Landing System).

Point Merge is a method of merging arrival flows with existing technology including PBN. Under a Point Merge System, the aircraft are merged to a point using “Closed-loop” techniques. This technique allows controllers to sequence and merge arrivals without vectoring, while enabling continuous descent operations and maintaining runway throughput, even under high traffic.

This concept builds on previous concept development and implementation by further developing it to cater for a Point Merge centric PBN route structure and operating method for Very High Capacity (VHC) or High Capacity (HC) needs TMAs.

This concept provides a Point Merge centric PBN route structure and operating method for a complex TMA. Therefore, the concept is centred on Point Merge procedures but also incorporates aspects of PBN route structures for Arrivals & Departures so that a fully effective concept for TMA airspace is developed.

NOTE: Point Merge usually relies on existing technology on-board aircraft such as PBN navigation specification. More stringent navigation specifications (RNP x) may be used if deemed necessary depending on local/specific requirements (e.g. airspace complexity, terrain clearance, runway spacing in case of independent parallel approaches, etc...).

NOTE FOR MILITARY AUTHORITIES: It is the responsibility of each military authority to review this Objective IN ITS ENTIRETY and address each of the SLoAs that the military authority considers RELEVANT for itself. This has to be done on top and above of the review of "MIL" SLoAs which identify actions EXCLUSIVE to military authorities.

Air Navigation Service Provider / Airspace Users


Related Elements

Applicability Area(s) and Timescales

Applicability Area:
(Subject to local need)
Timescales From By Applicable to
IOC used for Analytics functioning only - not for implementation planning 01-07-2022
FOC used for Analytics functioning only - not for implementation planning 31-12-2030

Links to SESAR Solutions

Links to PCP ATM Sub-Functionalities

ICAO Block Modules: No associated data


Applicable legislation
Applicable ICAO Annexes and other references
Deployment Programme 2022
Operating Environments

Expected Performance Benefits

TMA safety levels were maintained at current day levels or improved through: a reduction of tactical vectoring; single leg design allowing descent-enabled management of traffic not adequately spaced in the horizontal plane; increased situational awareness
Point Merge enables a significant reduction in ATC tactical interventions, hence in controller’s workload, R/T occupancy and communications task load leading to possible increases of the terminal airspace capacity
Operational efficiency
Cost efficiency
Point Merge offers both the path stretching capability required to build the sequence in dense terminal areas, and, once aircraft are directed to the merge point, the necessary predictability to support continuous descent operations. It also enables a better flow segregation – including departures, which may in turn facilitate Continuous Climb Operations (CCOs)
  Code Title From By Related Enablers
ASP01 Develop and publish Point Merge procedures
ASP02 Adapt ATM systems to support Point Merge procedures
ASP03 Safety assessment
ASP04 Training
ASP05 Operational use
USE01 Train flight crews in Point Merge procedures
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Supporting Material

Title Related SLoAs

EUROCONTROL - Point Merge implementation - A quick guide - Edition 1.4 / 05/2021


EUROCONTROL - Point Merge supporting documentation

ASP02, ASP03, ASP04, ASP05, USE01

EUROCONTROL - Point merge integration of arrival flows enabling extensive RNAV application and continuous descent (reference manual) - OSED - Edition 2.0 / 07/2010


SJU - Operational Service and Environment Definition (OSED) for Point Merge in Complex TMA


SJU - SESAR Solution 107: Data Pack for Point Merge in complex TMA

ASP01, ASP02, ASP05

SJU - Safety and Performance Requirements (SPR) for Point Merge in Complex TMA 07/2013 5 Point Merge Complex TMA_Safety_and_Performance_Requirements.pdf


Consultation & Approval

Working Arrangement in charge
Outline description approved in
Latest objective review at expert level
Commitment Decision Body
Provisional Council (PC)
Objective approved/endorsed in
Latest change to objective approved/endorsed in